An exploration of Secwépemc history told through Indigenous knowledge and oral traditions.
Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws is a journey through the 10,000-year history of the Interior Plateau nation in British Columbia. Told through the lens of past and present Indigenous storytellers, this volume detail how a homeland has shaped Secwépemc existence while the Secwépemc have in turn shaped their homeland.
Marianne Ignace and Ronald Ignace, with contributions from ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, archaeologist Mike Rousseau, and geographer Ken Favrholdt, compellingly weave together Secwépemc narratives about ancestors’ deeds. They demonstrate how these stories are the manifestation of Indigenous laws (stsq'ey') for social and moral conduct among humans and all sentient beings on the land, and for social and political relations within the nation and with outsiders. Breathing new life into stories about past transformations, the authors place these narratives in dialogue with written historical sources and knowledge from archaeology, ethnography, linguistics, earth science, and ethnobiology. In addition to a wealth of detail about Secwépemc land stewardship, the social and political order, and spiritual concepts and relations embedded in the Indigenous language, the book shows how between the mid-1800s and 1920s the Secwépemc people resisted devastating oppression and the theft of their land, and fought to retain political autonomy while tenaciously maintaining a connection with their homeland, ancestors, and laws.
An exemplary work in collaboration, Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws points to the ways in which Indigenous laws and traditions can guide present and future social and political process among the Secwépemc and with settler society.